November 18, 2013

Encouraging Words

Words have the power to tear us down or to build us up. Words also have a certain "linger-abilty" to them. Have you ever experienced a conversation that just sticks with you? No matter how much time elapses or how many words follow, that ONE powerful statement made seems to clings to your mind like a magnet to metal.

In my day job, I often am blessed with the awesome responsibility of teaching parenting skills. One of those skills I teach most frequently is how to encourage or praise your kids when they do something well. This is called specific praise, to be exact.  

General praise is when you tell someone they are "pretty," "smart," "talented," "hard-working," etc... However, specific praise is the act of bestowing encouraging words that are  unique to that individual.  It's praising someone for a specific deed done or a unique character trait manifested. For example, "Thank you for being so detail-oriented when you cleaned your room today, honey. You made sure every toy was put away where right where it should go. Good job!"

Specific, positive praise like this tends to build up a child in a way that general praise lacks. It tells them something specific that you noticed, and it conveys just that - that you NOTICED them. What they did, how they did it. And you liked it. A LOT.

The more a child receives these kinds of encouraging words, the more they build up a "bank," per se, of positive worth. And the more they want to act in positive ways in order to receive that positive attention. Now, good self worth is a great thing...but not necessarily the godliest thing. For God doesn't want us to recognize our own worth alone but more importantly our worth IN HIM. Specifically, the fact that we were created "fearfully and wonderfully" (Psalm 139:14) in the image of God Himself (Genesis 1:26). The fact that "while we were still sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8). Let alone that "Of His own will He brought us forth by the Word of Truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures" (James 1:18). Or that He "is in your midst, a mighty One who will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness; He will quiet you by His love; He will exult over you with loud singing" (Zephaniah 3:17).

Never underestimate the power of encouraging words.

The Bible is FULL of them. So please do not delay in picking up the Word TODAY and drinking deep of God's great fountain of love for you. 

The picture at the top of this post is an example of the specific praise that my husband and I seek to give each other on a regular basis.  It was actually a Pinterest project that I saw and recreated for our own home.  And it's a great way that you and your family can leave specific, encouraging words for one another.

First, purchase or repurpose a frame. Put any kind of scrapbook paper or other backing inside - where you would normally place a picture. [Take note: you will want to choose a backdrop that is light enough that it does not obscure the words you write on top of it!] Then, choose an expo marker and exhort to your heart's content! This should last for hundreds (if not thousands!) of encouraging messages, barring the destruction of frame or glass. Just wipe and rewrite! 

When I receive a specific, encouraging word from my husband, I feel noticed, loved, and valued. And because my marriage ought to be reflecting the love of Christ for His bride, the Church...I am also blessed on a spiritual level by these words. Because I know that when my husband writes me a message, He is fulfilling the call of Ephesians 5:28-30:

"In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, because we are members of His body." 
 An Original Belle: Make It Yourself Monday {Link-Up}

2 comments:

  1. Have you read Annie Down's book "Speak Love" She is amazing and you would really appreciate this book I think. She is so gifted in speaking to young women and she is seriously a doll of a gal in real life- hilarious to boot.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I have not read it...but I do read some of her blogging. I know I would like it. Thanks for the recommendation!

    ReplyDelete

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